“The World To Come” is a great historic drama movie set in rural upstate New York during the 1850’s.
“The World To Come” is based on a short story by novelist Jim Shepard, and adapted by him and Ron Hansen. It was partially filmed in Romania.
Abigail (Katherine Waterston) is Dyer’s (Casey Affleck) wife. They are farmers.
Both are grieving the recent loss of their five-year-old daughter Nellie to diphtheria, though the amount of work to be done to keep their little farm going, especially through a harsh winter, hardly gives them time to dwell. Dyer is not an unkind husband, but the philosophical differences between him and Abigail are cleverly described by the different ways they approach the written word. For Dyer, it’s useful as a record of bills and debts, of household expenses, and the income and outgoing that represents his mark upon the world. But for Abigail, it is her mark upon the world, less a record of what she has done in her life than the thing itself, a creative expression of all she has thought and felt. Dyer is a ledger; Abigail is a journal.
They live next to Tallie (Vanessa Kirby) and her husband Finney (Christopher Abbott).
The quiet grief of their neat wooden home is disturbed by the arrival of new neighbors, Tallie and her husband Finney. It’s a disturbance Abigail quickly comes to cherish, and as Tallie visits increasingly frequently while Dyer is not around, Abigail’s diary entries become increasingly lovelorn until one day Tallie, the more forthright of the two, makes a declaration and their affair begins in earnest. Gratifyingly, although of necessity they keep it secret, neither woman is ever ashamed of their love. Neither has internalized the religious and moral strictures of the day to the degree that they can believe what they feel to be a sin, neither feels the need to struggle against the sweetness of their union.
A grieving Abigail tends to her withdrawn husband Dyer, as free-spirit Tallie bristles at the jealous control of her husband Finney (Christopher Abbott), when together their intimacy begins to fill a void in each other’s lives they never knew existed.
“The World to Come” is a love story, and has its all-too-brief moments of fumbling passion and blissed-out mutual reverie, the overall impression, perfectly evoked, is of isolation. Not just for the women, trapped on the homestead while their husbands stride about the world, but the men too, equally straitjacketed by social expectations, the merciless elements and their incomprehension of their wives’ interior lives. In a way the men of the film are even worse off than the women, and not just because they experience no similar, nourishing soulmate connection. Abigail and Tallie have been brought up to expect little from life except disappointment: when Abigail mentions her admiration for the homesteaders of years past, who forged whole futures from nothing in this difficult country, Tallie demurs: “Perhaps they had a high hopefulness that we don’t have.” To the men, by contrast, the discovery that following all the proper rules of this tightly codified world cannot guarantee them happiness, or the love or even the respect of their womenfolk, seems to come as a painful ongoing surprise.
“The World to Come” is a deeply lonesome lovesong.
Andreea Vasile, Casey Affleck, Christopher Abbott, Ioachim Ciobanu, James Longshore, Karina Ziana Gherasim, Katherine Waterston, Sandra Personnic-House, Vanessa Kirby
Director: Mona Fastvold
Runtime: 98 min
Release Date: February 12, 2021
Release Date: February 12, 2021
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